Maryland Hospital Infection Risk Will Be Reduced With Monitoring of Hand Washing

November 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

State health officials have unveiled a new program to lower the number of Maryland hospital infection cases through improved hand washing at hospitals across the state.

handwashing-225-190Teams of staff members at 45 of the state’s 47 hospitals will covertly monitor the hand washing practices of Maryland hospital staff in an effort to improve hand washing habits at hospitals statewide. The program, called the Maryland Hospital Hand Hygiene Collaborative, was made possible through $100,000 in federal stimulus money that was part of a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) aimed at lowering the rate of Maryland hospital infections.

Hand washing has been repeatedly identified as an excellent tool in reducing the rate of hospital infections, which would result in a reduction in the number of Maryland hospital infection lawsuits. The CDC reports that there are more than 2 million U.S. hospital infections acquired each year, leading to more than 90,000 deaths annually.

State officials say the program is not designed to penalize hospital staff spotted not undertaking the best hand washing practices. Instead, the program will gather data on hygiene practices at facilities across the state to help determine where hospital staff needs the most improvement in hand washing hygiene practices. Officials also hope that the program will raise awareness for hospital hand washing hygiene.

A number of health care organizations representing doctors and patients have gotten behind the initiative. Supporters say that the program costs very little to implement, but is likely to provide excellent results in combating hospital infections.